5 Most Commonly Asked Questions To Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain, Which One Will Help You?

Back Pain

Back Pain

Chronic Low Back pain is any physical pain or aches that occur anywhere on the back. Back pain can present itself in many different ways. It can range all the way from muscle aching to shooting or even stabbing pain.

The pain may even carry down your leg or worsen when you bend or walk. A common cause can be a muscle strain from lifting a heavy object or from an awkward fast movement that can strain your back. If you rupture a disk in your spine that occurs between the bones in your spine.

Arthritis can also be a common cause of back pain. In some people, arthritis in the spine can lead to spinal stenosis which is when the space around the spinal cord gets smaller. Osteoarthritis is another condition that causes chronic low back pain.

Back pain is known to affect older people starting around the age of 30 to 40 but anyone can get back pain.

If you’re experiencing back pain and looking for relief try these frequently asked questions:

1. Should I use Heat or Ice For Back Pain?

Use ice when you’re in pain and you feel the area start to swell. The ice helps to stop the swelling and reduce the pain. You can use an ice pack or even a bag of something frozen such as peas. If it’s ice you can place it right on the skin.  if it’s a reusable gel pack you need to use a towel or blanket in-between the ice pack and your skin. Keep it on your skin for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Use a heating pad a few days after using ice to help the area loosen up and increase circulation. Just like the ice pack, do not place it directly on your skin and use it for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

2. Do Supportive Shoes Alleviate Chronic Low Back Pain?

Back pain can occur from other areas of your body such as your feet, hip, or knees. Different types of shoes can be tough on your back.  The best example is wearing high heels for hours. The less support the more tear and pressure on your muscles. Wearing supportive shoes can help take off that pressure on your back and fix your posture.

If you wear heels often try wearing sneakers when on the go and then wearing heels when the time comes to give your feet a rest beforehand.

3. Does Getting a New Mattress Help with Chronic Low Back Pain?

Do you know how long you’ve had your mattress? Has it been over 6 years?

If your mattress is sagging a lot and it’s been a while since you’ve had it, it may be time for a new one. Back pain can also be caused by the firmness of your mattress. A physician, Carmen R. Green, MD, at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center, says a firm mattress may not be doing you good. People with lower back pain who sleep on a medium-firm mattress do better than those with firm beds, she says.

4. Should I Try Cupping Therapy?

If you don’t know what cupping is, it’s when suction from cups allows for the separation of deeper tissues to free restrictions which allows for greater mobility of the muscles and less joint compression.

Cupping is for anyone who seems to have chronic muscle tension associated with joint stiffness that has not been relieved with a traditional massage. There is minimal pain if any when performing cupping but some bruising may occur.

Try cupping today to see if it can help you.

5. Can Physical Therapy Help With My Back Pain?

Physical therapy helps to relieve any pain and aches you may be dealing with for a number of reasons. You receive hands-on care and exercises to increase your strength and mobility. Physical therapists help to maintain, restore, promote, diagnose and determine physical health.

You will be evaluated by a doctor of physical therapy to determine which of the 4 treatment categories you belong to.  Here is a very detailed article that I’ll summarize for you.

These 4 categories are:

  1. Manual or Manipulation Therapy
  2. Specific Exercise
  3. Stabilization
  4. Traction

Manual or Manipulation Therapy

This group of patients are typically under 40 years old, started having pain within 16 days of getting treatment, do NOT have radiating down their legs past the knee, and are not worried about having their back manipulated or cracked.  Additionally, patients who respond well to spinal manipulation will have one hip stiffer than 35 degrees of inward rotation.  If you have 4 of the 5 conditions listed above you will have a 95% chance of recovery with treatments like massage, spinal manipulation, cupping, dry needling, and spinal mobilization.

Specific Exercise

This group of patients will have chronic low back pain that improves with specific movements.  The 2 most common movement patterns that either increase or decrease pain are flexion, bending forward, and extension, or bending backward.  Once the preferred movement direction is found, a treatment program can be designed to return to pain-free movements.


The group of patients found to have a straight leg test of more than 91 degrees, be younger than 40, have a positive prone instability test, and need help to move out of end-range positions. A straight leg raise test means you are able to raise their leg straight up with their knee straight while laying on their back.  Prone instability tests are done by a physical therapist to test if the low back pain improves with active stabilization of the spinal muscles. This test indicates a patient will benefit from spinal stabilization exercises and improve motor control patterns.


This treatment is declining in popularity among providers because of the short-term benefit and lack of patient activity.  However, the access to at-home traction devices has gone up considerably with inversion tables to treat low back pain.  This group is identified as one with pain and symptoms that go down the leg, symptoms and pain increase with standing extension, and have a positive cross-over straight leg test.  This is a test that correlates to nerve compression at the nerve root level.  When 3 out of 4 of the criteria are met, the patient would benefit from traction according to this study.


Preferred Physical Therapy in Glendale, AZ helps people 40 and above in Glendale and Peoria stay active and independent, live free from painkillers and avoid surgery, even if they have had pain for years.

If you are suffering from low back pain and have not had results from your current treatment we would like you to consider working with us. It all starts with the first phone call. This is where our front desk team learns what you’ve been going through, missing out on, and wanting to achieve with physical therapy.

Then this information is shared with all of the physical therapists so the whole team knows what’s going on with you specifically. You then come in for an initial evaluation where you do some tests with the therapists and talk one-on-one so they can learn more about you and your case.

They will diagnose you with a treatment protocol that best addresses your root cause and prescribe a set amount of appointments depending on how much care they think you’ll need to achieve your goals.

Your hands-on and exercise treatment is solely based on you and your needs so everyone’s treatment looks different. You may work with a different physical therapist every time you come since we want to make sure you get different opinions and treatment but a unified ending of being pain-free.

Our physical therapists discuss every patient and work together to create a plan. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in and if you’re ready for a change call 623-486-3333.

Click Here To Arrange A FREE Telephone Consultation


Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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